As many of you know, we began LifePoint in 2005 and for the first two years I worked full-time with the church. We had been granted start-up money that was used during the first two years to provide for salary, rental of our worship space, and other start-up costs. Beginning in 2007, I started working full-time at Blue Haven Pools and Spas since LifePoint was not at a point where it could continue to pay me a full-time salary. The idea was to draw my salary from outside the church while continuing to pastor the church as much as possible.
The last two years have been physically and emotionally challenging for me; the last six months even more so (click here to read a post from February about working two jobs). But these were challenges of my own choosing. I do not regret making the decision to work outside the church. During the past two years LifePoint has touched and blessed many people – people who are now closer to God because of our church. In 2008 alone, we had ten people decide to become Christians!
Over the last several months I have felt a strong desire to return to full-time ministry. Working at Blue Haven was always a means to an end, never the end itself. A career in the pool industry is not my calling. My hope and desire two years ago was that I would once again be full-time at LifePoint. Unfortunately, LifePoint is not in that position.
After much prayer and reflection, I made the decision to seek another pastoral position. Several of our LifePoint leaders have been aware of this from the very beginning. Last week, Tonya and I accepted a pastoral position with Mountainview Community Christian Church in Highlands Ranch (Denver), Colorado. I will be their Pastor of Spiritual Formation and share in the weekend teaching responsibilities as well as other areas very similar to what I had hoped LifePoint would have become.
This has been one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made. Simply put, our family loves LifePoint and always will. Without a doubt, it has been the best church experience of my entire life. While we are excited about the next season of our lives, it is tempered by our reluctance to leave people we love dearly.
Mountainview has asked me to be on-site by July 15. This means that I will preach at LifePoint through the end of June. No final decisions have been made about what the next steps might be for LifePoint. Several of our leaders and me have recently started exploring our options and would welcome your input. There are several viable options that we are looking into. I am planning on sharing this again on Sunday and would be glad to field any and all questions you might have.
This is an post I never thought I would have to write. While we definitely sense God’s hand in directing our path, we are accepting his guidance with a bit of sadness. As your pastor and friend, I have been blessed in untold ways over these last four years and wouldn’t trade any of them for anything.
We would appreciate your prayers. May God’s peace rest on you.
Since most of you will read this before or after worship, I guess it’s a good time to offer a confession: I got a ticket this past week for not wearing my seat belt. I had just left the Spring Street trolley station and was on my way to Hope’s softball practice. A La Mesa police office on a motorcyle spotted me and pulled me over.
I have to admit to not being happy about it. In fact, I was a bit ticked off. I thought to myself ... Don’t they have anything better to do than drive around looking for seat belt violations? Shouldn’t they be out fighting real crime?
My fuming continued as he asked for my driver’s license, registration, and insurance. I had been hoping for a warning, even a stern warning, instead of a ticket. As I watched in my rear-view mirror, he began writing the ticket -- something that made me squeeze the wheel a bit harder.
For a fleeting moment I thought of asking him, “Weren’t you in that show called Chips?” I may have been upset, but I wasn’t going to be stupid.
But here’s the reality: I deserved that ticket. One hundred percent guilty as charged. There was no misunderstanding, no differerent interpretation. I wasn’t wearing my seat belt. End of discussion.
Isn’t it ironic that we often get upset when we get caught doing what we know is wrong? We take moral indignation and turn into immoral indignation. “You can’t tell me what to do” is often our angry reaction to being called out or told the truth.
Parents, teachers, coaches -- anyone who works with young children -- know that the hardest part about raising children is getting them to take responsibility for their actions. It wasn’t the imaginary ghost who made the mess. It was me. “I did it” are three of the most difficult words to say.
And that’s just as true for adults as it is for kids.
You have passed a major milestone on the path to spiritual maturity when you are able to take responsbility for your actions. It wasn’t the devil who made you do it (he may have contributed to it, but you made the choice).
And watch out for those cops on Baltimore Avenue.
My mother only knew how to play one song on the piano. It was part ragtime with hints of a church hymn mixed in. I find myself still humming that tune even though she passed on nearly 13 years ago.
There are other memories which tend to surface around Mother’s Day ... like how my mother would carry one of those old Panasonic cassette recorders to bluegrass festivals and record her favorite groups. You could never hear the actual music because mom would start singing along and forget about the recording.
Or my mom’s love of flowers and her affection for cats.
Now that I can no longer pick up the phone and talk with mom, I wish I had paid more attention to Mother’s Day. When you’re young (and often stupid!), special days seem more burdensome than blessed.
There isn’t anything I wouldn’t give to sit next to my mom one more time in church or to hear her play that old ragtime tune. I’d even be willing to eat her meatloaf again if it meant 15 more minutes of conversation.
So let me encourage you to give your mom a big hug this Sunday. It’s the least we can do.
The Disney Channel likes to call their new movies “D-COM’s.” It stands for Disney Channel Original Movie. Hannah Montana, Camp Rock, and others.
The irony is that all the “original” movies tend to follow a very predictable pattern. The same actors and actresses bounce from one movie to another. If you turned off the sound, you would think you were watching the same movie each night. Of course, I’m a bit jaded because I’m “forced” to watch all the new D-COM’s. Or maybe I just can’t recognize art when I see it.
Back before Jesus was born, King Solomon once wrote “there is nothing new under the sun.” In other words, human nature has remained pretty consistent for thousands of years. We create new toys to amuse ourselves (can anyone say “Crackberry”), but our basic needs, hopes, fears, and dreams remain the same.
God-followers have always been asked to walk a path that may not be shared by the crowd. Jesus held values that challenged the prevailing values of his day. To say he danced to the beat of his own drummer would be an understatement. And he expected his followers to walk the same path. The King James Bible describes the earliest Christ-followers in this way: “These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also” (Acts 17:6).
We’re starting a new teaching series at LifePoint Church entitled, “The Upside Down Way of God.” We’ll look at five Christian principles that may seem upside down:
- The First will be Last
- It’s Better to Give than to Receive
- The Weak are Strong
- Slavery is Freedom
- We Die to Live